Why I chose to Apply to Rollins: The Perspective of a Student of Color

By: Tianni Spence

When I was considering which Master of Public Health (MPH) programs I wanted to apply to, one of the number one things I considered was diversity – how diverse the program was, how diverse the faculty was, and how diverse the city was. As a Black student, the program’s diversity was important to me for a few reasons. I wanted to feel comfortable in a program that I would be spending the next two years. While I wanted to get to know new people and their cultures, I also found comfort in knowing there would be students who looked like me in the program. If you know, you know. Faculty diversity was essential to me for similar reasons; I wanted to know that I would be able to find support with the Rollins faculty as a Black woman. And lastly, I wanted to ensure the city I would be moving to was diverse outside of the institution. Since I was moving from another state, I wanted the city I moved to be somewhere I could feel at home. I didn’t want my comfort or joy to leave me once I left the campus. 

For me, Rollins was one of the programs that best met my needs for diversity. I chose to apply to Rollins because I felt that this program would support and be beneficial to me as a whole person and not only as a student. Almost two years later, I can confidently say that I made a great choice coming to Rollins. My cohort is diverse, the faculty here is relatively diverse (especially compared to some other programs), and the city is a melting pot. I’ve received so much support from my peers and faculty and have been able to participate in so many great opportunities for research and work that I am passionate about. Plus, Atlanta has been so much fun to explore. 

For anyone considering any MPH programs, my biggest advice is to make sure that you choose a program that is not only going to challenge you academically but one that will also be comfortable and supportive for you. As grad students, we spend so much time interacting with our peers and faculty through student organizations, classes, practicum work, theses, and other research. It’s important that you’re able to find your tribe, whatever that looks like for you. Remember that you’re a person first, and a student second.

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